Islamabad, Kabul embroil in fresh war of words

FO rejects Afghan allegations about Da’ish, terming them ‘unwarranted and irresponsible’

Kamran Yousaf May 09, 2024
Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch speaks during the weekly briefing in Islamabad, November 02, 2023. PHOTO: ANADOLU AGENCY


Islamabad and Kabul engaged in a fresh round of a war of words on Thursday as the Foreign Office (FO) dismissed the latest charge by Afghanistan that the Da’ish terrorist group was operating from Pakistan.

On Monday, DG ISPR Major General Ahmed Sharif issued a fresh charge sheet against the Taliban government, accusing them of not doing enough to stop the cross-border terrorist attacks being perpetrated by the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The chief military spokesperson also formally confirmed for the first time that the March 26 terrorist attack targeting Chinese engineers in Besham had links to Afghanistan.

The Afghan Defence Ministry rejected the Pakistani statement and instead blamed Islamabad for supporting Daesh.

At a weekly news briefing, the FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch reiterated Pakistan’s stance that there was enough evidence to suggest a link between recent terrorist incidents and Afghanistan.

Read more: Taliban refute Pakistan’s claim of Afghan involvement in Besham attack

“You must have seen the statement made by ISPR in which it was very clearly elaborated that we have evidence of the involvement of Afghan nationals in terrorist attacks inside Pakistan,” the spokesperson said.

“We have also found evidence that the attack in Besham has links with terrorists currently residing inside Afghanistan. The suicide bombing, as said by DG ISPR, connects to across the border. The planning of this terrorist attack took place in Afghanistan, and the terrorists and their facilitators were being controlled from Afghanistan,” she explained.

She said that Pakistan expected the Afghan authorities to take effective measures against these terrorist entities. “With such effective measures, they should be able to demonstrate that these terror groups do not have sanctuaries and hideouts inside Afghanistan.”

She said that Pakistan would share evidence with the Afghan authorities once comprehensive information and intelligence data from the law enforcement agencies were available.

Also read: Pakistan, Afghanistan impasse

“You would realise that there are several channels of communication between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Our respective embassies are one channel, but there are other channels, including in the security domain, through which Pakistan exchanges information and its concerns related to these terror groups. We have been calling on the Afghan authorities to take effective action against TTP and other related terror groups.”

However, she rejected Afghan allegations about Da’ish, terming them “unwarranted and irresponsible.”

“Instead of such irresponsible statements, the Afghan authorities should take effective action against all terror groups based in Afghanistan,” the spokesperson stressed.

The relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan has remained tense for months over the lack of action against the TTP by the Taliban government.

Meanwhile, Pakistan condemned in the strongest terms the invasion and seizure of the Rafah border crossing in southern Gaza by Israeli occupation forces in defiance of international warnings and acceptable international behaviour.

“With its latest actions, Israeli occupation authorities have once again demonstrated their contempt for international humanitarian law as they continue to pursue an abhorrent policy of genocide and extermination in Gaza,” the spokesperson said.

She said that Israeli forces had bombed, starved, and humiliated the people of Gaza for months.

“And they now are moving forward to forcibly displace civilians from the last remaining shelter for millions fleeing from the inhumane assault in the rest of the besieged Gaza Strip,” the spokesperson added.

“These war crimes and crimes against humanity must end. We call on the international community to take urgent measures to bring an end to this aggression and genocide. Measures should be taken to fully protect civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law, and the occupation forces must be held accountable for the Gaza genocide,” she said.


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